It was actually the Display of Maturity. Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park was just another practice round for winner and still undefeated Mohaymen.
Going in the gate there were three undefeated colts–Mohaymen, Zulu, and Awesome Banner, but the latter two couldn’t keep pace with Mohaymen. Awesome Banner is a speedy colt and was in contention early, but he couldn’t extend that speed through the 1 1/16th-mile race; he faded to next to last at the wire. Zulu gave it a noble try, but John Velazquez was already scrubbing and whipping as the horses came out of the turn for home to get him to the wire first. In the meantime, Mohaymen was closing from just off the pace in cruise control with rider Junior Alvarado simply flagging his whip in a hand ride that ended up with him wrapping up the grey colt in the strides before the wire.
The race couldn’t have set up more perfectly for Mohaymen: race conditions, an undisturbed run to the wire, and not much need to expend a great deal of effort and energy to get the win. And he picked up 50 prep race points to place him at the top of the list of contenders for the Kentucky Derby. No muss, no fuss. Best of all, post race, Alvarado said he feels Mohaymen is improving and getting stronger with each race. On Sunday morning, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin indicated he came out of the race A-OK health wise.
So now it’s on to April 2, and an apparent early showdown with also undefeated West Coast representative Nyquist in the Florida Derby. It will be the last prep for both colts and a very interesting and entertaining race.
This Saturday, prep action returns to Aqueduct for the Gotham Stakes. The leading contender is Sunny Ridge, winner of the Withers Stakes also run at Aqueduct January 30.
Another exciting rivalry is also shaping up amongst the three year olds, but on the distaff side. Songbird, Two-Year-Old and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly champion remains undefeated this year and now has potential competition from also undefeated Cathryn Sophia, winner in a romp, in Saturday’s Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park. I have them rated 1 and 1a on my list and if everything continues to go well, they will finally meet on the Friday before the Derby in the Kentucky Oaks. Right now, that’s the race I am most looking forward to in the next few months. Lots of three-year-old fun ahead!!